Ethanol Plant

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You've probably heard of Midwestern farmers growing corn to produce the alternate fuel called ethanol. In Brazil they make ethanol out of sugar cane. Now a Holmes County man wants to duplicate that operation right here in the panhandle.

Charles Smith is hoping one day you'll power your car with sugar cane. It costs a dollar and fifty cents a gallon to make ethanol from corn. In Brazil it costs less that 60 cents a gallon to produce the same fuel from sugar cane.

Charles Smith, a Holmes County resident, says, "You can produce about 700 gallons of ethanol an acre from sugar cane."

Smith wants Holmes County to get serious about making home grown fuel in this region. Tuesday night he plans to pitch the idea of an ethanol plant to the Holmes County Development Council.

The only downside to Smith's idea is that there are no sugar cane farmers in this region, but Smith says there is some interest.

"Our county agent, Chef Ubaks, tells me that though that some farmers have already asked him about the possibility of producing ethanol here in Holmes County before I brought the subject up with him."

Smith claims the endeavor could dramatically change the struggling economy, and not just locally.

"Our whole economy is hanging by a little slim thread called an oil tanker from here to the Mideast oil fields. Any interruption in that supply is going to be devastating to this entire country."

And if it's a success, Smith claims sugar cane ethanol will be a sweet alternative to the high prices we're paying for gasoline.

Brazil, India and Australia are all producing ethanol from sugar cane.